This week, after that fateful break with the novella collection, I continued to read Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. She is a marvelous writer and I absolutely adore Ink Heart. But Dragon Rider did not sweep me away as easily. And I learned something terribly important.
You can get better.
Even a New York Times Bestseller took time to learn her craft. And after she had learned enough to actually sell her work, she continued to improve. Greatly. Dragon Rider is a nice book, an enjoyable read, and fun. But it is not a sweeping epic and I’m fairly sure that I won’t be crying so hard that my boys give me alarmed glances when I finish it.
What did the book lack specifically? It’s hard to pin down, but one thing I noticed was that the reader was not given time to absorb plot events. An event would occur and then another and then an important character development and then some other plot thing…all stringed along in close succession without sufficient description and bits of character analysis t0 allow the reader to stop and mull and grow to believe her tale. I want to be able to sink deep into the story and truly feel that it is real, but although Dragon Rider is a 523 p. tome (huge by publishing standards) I was not allowed the time to believe, too much was happening in close succession.
This was interesting to observe, because I have this exact same problem. My writing instructor kept extolling me to slow down and describe some things. My stories’ events kept galloping along at breakneck speeds. And so this was a wonderful opportunity to see my own troubles committed by expert hands and to realize how much Cornelia Funke has grown as a writer. And one can’t help but hope that if she can improve so very much, perhaps I can as well.